PRSSA National Affiliation: resume building

By Nicole Bersani, CEO

Every month or so, the leaders in various PRSSA Nationally Affiliated student-run firms from around the country gather to talk about ways to make their firm better. The most recent call on Tuesday, Feb. 21 covered resume building with organizer, Jessica Noonan, PRSSA National Vice President of Professional Development, and  guest, Joe Clarkson, PRSSA National VP of Internships/Job Services. Both gave great advice that I would like to share with the rest of our members…

  • While some students might not have agency internship experience but want to intern or work at agencies, joining a student-run firm is a great way to showcase your experiences and display that you have work that could mirror agency experience (via Jessica). In ImPRessions for example, members can work on various accounts throughout their four years at Ohio University — some even work on more than one per year.
  • “There is no real magic formula for resumes.” -Joe. Try to demonstrate specifics such as using the number of media outlets that covered your client during a certain release, the amount of money you raised in fundraising for your client’s event or the increase in retweets, mentions, etc. while you did social media for your client.
  • Avoid being vague (via Joe). You might not have all the specific information/results from your client about the work you did, but try to gather as much information you can, ask your client if they can share their results and/or approve the results you have.
  • Be specific but also explain — don’t assume everyone knows what you’re talking about on your resume (via Joe). On my resume, I have it listed as “ImPRessions, PRSSA Nationally Affiliated student-run firm, CEO.” Because I also mention my involvement in PRSSA, I mention that organization in a separate line as “Public Relations Student Society of America, Hugh M. Culbertson Chapter, Executive Board Member” and therefore do not need to write out PRSSA twice. Also, make sure to label that you are an account associate, account executive or account supervisor for Express, Cardinal Health, etc. and not ImPRessions unless you are on the internal account. For example, Sam Barlett is the account supervisor for the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, College Book Store and ButtOut Ohio accounts in ImPRessions. If you have a sub-title such as social media coordinator, graphic designer, etc. then make sure to make that clear as well but also mention that role was while you were an account associate.
  • Highlight key terms and content (via Joe). Key words such as “team,” “community,” and “leader” are good examples of words to add. Also, any certain names of companies, events and software programs can be excellent key terms. Check also the company’s website that you are applying to — copy words they mention in their mission statement and on the application if it’s applicable to your resume.

If you ever need help with how to display your ImPRessions work on your resume, please do not hesitate to contact me at, our firm at, stop in our office hours on Wednesdays or reach out to our professional adviser, M.J. Clark at Also, more resume tips specific to ImPRessions members can also be found in our 2011-2012 Brand Standards Manual.

If you ever have any questions for Jessica, Joe or anyone else on the PRSSA Naitonal Committee, their contact information can be found on the PRSSA National website.

Members, alumni, professors…any additional tips you recommend?

Cardinal Health finishes up a successful year

By Jenny Chufar
Associate, ImPRessions account

The Cardinal Health account went to visit the client headquarters in Columbus last October to present their public relations plan for the year.










Over the course of this past school year, Grace Naugle and Jackie Bavaro worked hard with their team members promoting their ImPRessions client Cardinal Health.  One big project the team took on was the Generation Rx campaign, which promotes prescription drug abuse prevention.

Bavaro said the biggest challenge the team faced was the time constraints.  During fall quarter the team did a lot of brainstorming while prepping the ground for the basis of their campaign.  The Generation Rx campaign, which they titled, “Dose of Reality”, was then implemented during this past winter quarter.

Throughout spring quarter, the team was busy at work as they took on a new project that was centered on social media for Cardinal Health.  While doing the social media project for Cardinal Health, the team was also analyzing their “Dose of Reality” campaign results and preparing a trip to the Cardinal Health headquarters, in Columbus, to present to the client.

Although it has been a hectic year, Bavaro said that she was really proud of her team for, “Pulling together and tackling ideas.”

Naugle agrees, saying, “I’ve enjoyed the dedication of each team member on the account the most. They are extremely hard workers and smart people.”

Overall, both Bavaro and Naugle enjoyed working for Cardinal Health. Bavaro appreciated the creativity Cardinal Health gave to them. “I really liked how they gave us a lot of freedom,” she said.

Naugle appreciated the experience she gained in working for Cardinal Health. “They are teaching us the reality of working in the fast-paced public relations field and hold us accountable for our deadlines. Overall, it’s been a wonderful learning experience,” Naugle said.

As one year ends another begins, and for that reason, Bavaro and Naugle would like to congratulate the new executive board especially Caroline Allen and Sienna Tomko, who will be taking over the Cardinal Health account next year.

Bavaro said, “Don’t be afraid to have crazy ideas and think outside of the box.  Just go with it.”

Back to basics communication tips

By Ashante Rone                                                                                                                                                                                Associate, ImPRessions account

Trying to find a way to get new members or get the word out about your organization, but just don’t know how? Or simply need easy ways to communicate to members in your group? From my personal experience, it is about getting down to the basics. There are three easy ways to communicate with those inside and outside of your group.

1st: E-mail.

The fastest growing and one of the more common technical communication resources is e-mailing. Sometimes posters and flyers aren’t enough to get the word out for your group. Obtaining list-servs from different organizations, professors, or from any other source helps to spread the message to a large audience faster. This gives possible members the opportunity to reply and have a way to keep in contact with you as well. It is also easier to contact more than one member at once.

2nd : Facebook

Facebook isn’t just for Farmville, or posting up a status. It can also be a reliable and valuable networking tool, if used correctly. That’s why Facebook gives you the option to create your own group. You have the freedom to decide what information goes on there and who to invite to join. You can easily keep in contact with members from your group. For people who might be interested in joining, it gives them a place to learn more about you and open up a communication gateway to potential members.

3rd: Fliers and physical contact

I think we sometimes get so wrapped up in technology that we forget what it was invented for; communication. Another option besides technology is fliers. Sometimes not everyone reads them or pays attention to them. In order to make them more effective, stand around somewhere, outside of Baker Center is for example, and hand out fliers to people and try to have a few conversations every now and then. You could also go to a lecture class, or one that has a moderate amount of people and personally give a quick five to ten minute presentation.

There you have it. These are my three quick easy ways to communicate with already existing members and others outside of your group. There are many other forms of communication but these are most effective when you need to get down to the basics.

National PRSSA grants ImPRessions national affiliation status

By Myranda Owca                                                                                                                                                                            Associate, ImPRessions account

ImPRessions is proud to announce they are now nationally affiliated through PRSSA as a student-run firm and will be until 2014.

There are more than 100 student-run firms in the country, but only top-notch firms that meet certain specifications set by PRSSA are granted national affiliation status, a signification of a firm’s adherence to the highest standards of public relations work.

“Ohio University’s PR firm has been consistently strong for so many years, and it’s sincerely gratifying to see the hard work of so many amazing students recognized in this way,” expressed M.J. Clark, professional adviser to ImPRessions. “As an Ohio University alumna and former OU PRSSA member, I feel great pride in the entire ImPRessions team for achieving this exclusive honor,”

PRSSA also specifically asked that ImPRessions be used as an example to other firms who are in their early stages, an offer the firm was happy to accept as it pursues a strong relationship with PRSSA and other student firms.

“The firm as a whole as well as every member will benefit from this because it allows recognition at both the National PRSSA and PRSA levels and access into a higher level of professional and student-base opportunities,” said Nicole Bersani, vice president of administration.

Growth in ImPRessions this year strengthened the firm’s diversity and helped with receiving national affiliation, Bersani explained. Diversity in the firm now ranges from health care to entertainment to non-profit.

“With the diverse clientele comes diverse work. We had various projects, campaigns, events and plans from each account that prove the hard work our members have been completing,” Bersani said. “Also, M.J. Clark’s knowledge and involvement has been apparent to not only the PRSA and PRSSA network but also to our firm in supporting us through the entire National Affiliation application since the beginning.”

With more members, the firm was able to service a large amount of clients and demonstrate its ability to balance such a large firm. It is about what our members put into their work that really shined through to the national level.

“I enjoy looking at a large member spreadsheet, but I enjoy even more when a client sends me a note raving about the great work we did for them,” said CEO Devin Hughes. “You receive National Affiliation because you do great work, so every member of our firm should be patting themselves on the back today, because they were the ones who made this possible.”

To Bersani, the application exemplified ImPRessions as one of the best student-run PR firms around.

“We did just that,” Bersani said. “Having this awarded to our firm means that we take all of our firm’s accomplishments and apply for PRSSA student-run firm awards as well as reach a brand new level of recognition and professionalism.”

According to Hughes, obtaining national affiliation does not mean the work stops; rather, it will force the firm to keep looking to improve upon what it has done and constantly create new ideas to better the firm in all aspects.“If we slip or get lazy, we might not get our affiliation renewed. A constant pursuing of affiliation will always push us to get better, and that is very good for an organization,” Hughes said.

Being recognized as a nationally affiliated firm will help immensely in creating future growth, a theme Hughes has pushed throughout the year.

“Achieving National Affiliation will help ImPRessions grow in size and credibility,” Hughes said. “By applying this label to ImPRessions, we can show prospective clients that an outside governing body has recognized us as a top-notch student PR firm, which gives them confidence that we will do great work for them.”

Stand out

Ashley Showen
VP, Operations

Every day in PR can seem like a whirlwind. From answering e-mails to media monitoring to trying to fulfill your client’s every need, there is almost never a moment to spare. With that in mind, we tend to try to get things done as quickly as possible and, as a result, end up taking the “easy way out,” that is, playing it safe in our work.

While it is easy to get into a routine of sending out the same news release to the same media contacts about the same events, those mundane tactics are not going to drive results. In this age of media clutter, news organizations are a lot pickier about what material they run, and if what you’re pitching is boring, it will inevitably get buried into the mass amounts of e-mails they get every day.

In Seth Godin’s book, “Purple Cow,” his main theme is how to make your business, client or organization “remarkable.” While his book is mostly about creating a remarkable product, the themes undoubtedly carry over to how we promote our clients and even how we promote ourselves. His advice that can help a great deal as we approach the beginning of another year with ImPRessions, especially with five new clients on board.

Innovation is the cornerstone of the “new” world of marketing and PR, if it wasn’t already. It does not matter how many phone calls you make, how many press releases you send or how many tweets you crunch out—if you are not offering something that your audiences needs or wants, you can forget about them listening to you.

Godin writes a lot about taking chances and being “outrageous.” Since most PR people are Type A control freaks, this may sound frightening. I know it does to me. But the thing we have to remember is if we never take a leap of faith, we will always wish we had.

So, next year, whether you are just joining us in ImPRessions or are a “veteran,” I challenge you to do something “outrageous,” whether it is implementing an innovative tactic for a client, creating an interactive résumé or making a pitch to your boss at your internship. Stand out.

We have the unique opportunity in Impressions of working with so many different clients who all have very different audiences and needs. The possibilities are endless, so don’t limit yourselves with ordinary ideas. Get inspired!

While passion alone cannot drive your business, it is a very important part. Once you become passionate about what you are doing, being innovative in your campaigns and tactics is that much easier. Show your client up front that you are dedicated, which will make them more likely to trust you when you pitch an “outrageous” idea.

Take the advice of Godin: if you could think of the most outrageous campaign or tactic for your client, what would it be?  Get brainstorming and you’re sure to think of something spectacular.